As I was visiting the Western Barga Knights’ training facility while escorting Laptiricia-sama during her scheduled magic training, the instructor had proposed a mock battle. With me as a participant… Although it was a sudden request with the unlikely event I would fight against a team of knights and mages during this escort mission…
“Shaft, are you sure about this?”
Ashley-san asked me with a worried expression. Behind her, Laptiricia-sama and three who looked like mages, who appeared to be mages, stood.
“Is this sir truly the Black Mask Shaft?”
One of the three mages, a mostly bald man with gray hair and a beard that reached down to his chest, walked forward. He didn’t seem to be just any random mage, as he carried himself with a dignified air.
“I am the Mage Guild’s Deputy Chief of the Barga branch, Garathmos Themis.”
A noble… Maybe? Thankfully, Ashley-san quickly whispered “He’s Count Themis” to me.
“I would like to demonstrate to Laptiricia-sama on what a mage should, and be capable, of doing on the battlefield. Would you assist me, please?”
“But I’m here as Laptiricia-sama’s escort.”
“The mock battle will be enacted between you and the knights. The knights, in particular, wish to know whether you have the necessary strength to be entrusted with protecting Laptiricia-sama.”
“The Duke himself has personally chosen me to be her escort. Is that not convincing enough?”
“The Duke’s decision was based on rumors and hearsay. Please take into consideration of their feelings. They’re worried sick that they’d have to leave the princess’s protection to a mercenary.”
I guess I don’t have a choice. I did want to try fighting a team of knights and mages. So, let’s just take this situation as an opportunity.
“Alright. However, I won’t pull my punches.”
“As long as no one dies instantly, we’ll be able to heal them.”
The other participants and I moved to the training area. Among us, there were two young mages that’d been with Count Themis. So it’d be 1 against 4.
Laptiricia-sama and Ashley-san would be spectating from a small tent that’d been specially prepared for them. Count Themis sat next to Laptiricia-sama, talking to her about something. The Western Barga Knights also gathered in the training area. Somehow, I felt like the mock battle had become some sort of attraction.
Count Themis explained to Laptiricia-sama regarding what I would probably do, and how the mages should counteract. The atmosphere still felt like training to this point. But she’s been with Sasanqua for a while, couldn’t she judge something like this by herself by now?
Well, whatever. right now, I needed to focus on the four people in front of me. Of the two knights, one was the standard type – sword and shield – while the other wielded a spear without a shield. Two mages stood behind them also carried the standard staff and were robed.
Seeing both sides ready, the knight that acted as the referee shouted, signaling the start of the mock battle.
As the same time, I ran forward. The opponent was in two rows, two deep. Knights at the front with the mages at the back. Their movements were clear in my eyes.
In the FPS Game, one technical difference that separated regular players from the advanced players was the order of killing. For example, suppose a player encountered two enemies around a corner. The regular player would just kill anyone who entered their crosshairs first and not consider which of the enemies would be detrimental to winning or losing, that encounter.
However, an advanced player would quickly weigh their own position, whether they’ve been seen or not. If they had, then they proceed to kill the one with the highest possiblity of killing the player.
To avoid this, one must be able to decide at a moment’s notice which enemy posed the greatest danger. The ability to do so was a strict requirement for the higher-ranked players.
Then, what about the four in front of me? There was still distance between us. As I’m running towards them, they’re most likely on high alert. The last two mages at the back begun to cast spells. I didn’t know what magic they were casting, but it must have been offensive magic – so I had to eliminate them first.
I quickly changed directions, heading right, but a knight readily stood between me and his mage. I’ve been fighting against skeleton mages in the Wolves’ Fang Labyrinth. Those monsters would cast their magic even as their allies were in front of them. However, people wouldn’t be able to do the same thing.
Seeing as it was the sword and shield knight, I used the speed boost from the power suit to dash forward.
As I dashed forward, I heard through my earpads that the mage was flustered. The person in question had charged a 50 cm diameter fireball in front of him. I suppose it was ready to launch, but as the knight stood between me and the mage, he couldn’t afford to hurt his ally just to get me.
I covertly pulled out a pair of S&W Tomahawks, hiding the act with the flourish of my overcoat as I flipped into the air. I aimed for the mage’s right shoulder as he held his staff with his right hand. The lens on my mash showed me when to throw, showing a line.
I heard a cry as I landed in front of the knight. I didn’t bother to look, as I knew I hit the target.
Since I was bending down on my knee when I landed, the knight opted to swing his sword vertically down on me.
I activated the CQC System. I held up the tomahawk to block the sword and diverted it to the left as I struck out with my right hand. The hit was strengthened with the power suit, and landed in the knight’s abdominal area.
The knight was stunned by the blow. I took that opportunity to strick at his neck with my left hand. His head leaned to the right due to that blow and so I made use of that momentum to hit his jaw with my right elbow.
With him taking a hit to the head, the knight fell to his knee. I rotated my body to follow the momentum and threw my second tomahawk at the other mage in the corner of my eyes.
I’d racked up countless kills with these tomahawks while I played VMB, so I was very familiar with their usage.
The thrown tomahawk cut into the mage’s leg before he could unleash his ball of water. He collapsed to the ground. At that point, the knight approached at an alarming speed. He literally dashed to me from the other end of the arena. Was that a skill of his? While I thought that, I jumped backward to avoid his spear thrust.
With the other knight still out, that left only the spear knight to fight me. I took out my last pair of tomahawks from under my coat. With Laptiricia-sama in the spectator seat, I couldn’t afford to fire the Welrod. I had to Either use it as a tonfa, or sing it like a baton.
I focused on the last knight, avoiding his left and right spear thrusts, switching positions.
What if I tried that out- – I stopped turning, deciding to try the idea that had crossed my mind. The first downed knight was still between me and him. I used the poor knight as a springboard and jumped up in time to avoid another spear thrust. I threw down a tomahawk while midair.
The knight was skilled enough to deflect it with his spear. Well, considering its speed, someone like him should’ve been able to block it so long as he could see it coming, I guess? In any case, I could use the power suit to greatly improve its speed and impact; I still had to find an opening.
Landing behind him, I didn’t miss the fact that he’d already extended his spear on the attack. Deflecting the spear to the right with my other tomahawk, I moved in and tapped him hard on the ear with my left palm. His body spun midair before landing on the ground. I picked up the spear he had dropped.
Then I stabbed the spear on the ground next to his head. That should be the end.
“It’s done. I suppose that was convincing enough, yes?”
I directed the question to Count Themis, who was still sitting inside the tent.
“— Wonderfully done.”
But the answer didn’t come from the Count. Instead, it was from among the crowd of knights. Apparently, some time ago, Viscount Caymon had joined the crowd.
“Are you not going to stand up now, fools! You’re the Knights of Barga! And here you are, being taken down by a single mercenary. You’d be dead if this was a real battlefield!”
Responding to the Viscount’s shout, the two knights quickly stood up. Each of them muttering “That was a good lesson” despite losing to me. The mages who’d been hit by tomahawks had already been treated by someone who could use healing magic. Once had a tomahawk lodged in his shoulder, and the other had his leg cut off. Could healing reconnect severed limbs?
Looking at the process, it turned out to be possible. Although, it looked like a painful experience nonetheless.
Apparently worried about me, Ashley-ran to me.
“Good work, Shaft. Are you hurt anywhere?”
“Ah, nothing’s hurt. What comes after this?”
“It’s training for the practical use of magic in the first place, so they’d go back to the training room to review the mock battle.”
By training room, she probably meant the one-story building near the training ground.
“I guess the fight continues on, but its just one mock battle after all.”
Why of course. Well, you’d better firmly explain everything to Lary.”
In the tent, I could sense that a different kind of battle was awaiting me. Sitting inside, Laptiricia-sama looked to me with a smile. Meanwhile, I couldn’t see the meaning behind Count Themis’s expression. But if I had to guess, it’s likely he’d found something interesting.
For the time being, I picked up the thrown tomahawks before I headed into the tent.